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A lot of surprising things happen when the use of assisted reproductive technology slams up against outdated family law doctrines. I see a lot of unexpected cases that end up in this column. This case is actually shocking to me.

Reciprocal IVF

Michigan residents LaNesha Matthews and Kyresha LeFever became a couple in 2011, and, like many couples, decided they wanted to have children together. They found a path to parenthood that allowed them each, as a same-sex female couple, to play special roles. They conceived through “reciprocal IVF” or a “co-maternity” arrangement, among the procedure’s many names. LeFever underwent an ova (egg) retrieval procedure, her eggs were fertilized in a fertility clinic with sperm from a donor, and the resulting embryos were transferred to Matthews’ uterus. The procedure was successful, and Matthews gave birth to twins.

At the time, pre-Obergefell, the couple was not legally permitted to marry. Moreover, they knew that Michigan law would not permit both mothers to appear on the children’s birth certificates. In order to rectify this, the couple decided to give... see more